Words that hurt immigrants to Japan

13 regional newspapers across Japan surveyed over 300 gaikokujin immigrants through Line to ask about their daily lives, whether they found satisfaction with their jobs, what they needed assistance with on living in Japan, and whether they wanted to permanently stay. (Half of them do.)

Among the questions were what kinds of hurtful comments they’ve heard from their nihonjin colleagues. “Baka (ばか)”, “smelly (臭い)”, and “black (黒い)” were on the top of the list.

Microaggressions hurt. According to Nishinippon Shimbun:


Also notable was the incongruity the respondents felt at comments that generalized them as “gaikokujin”. A 29 year old man who works at an automobile parts manufacturer in Kyoto felt that he was not accepted on an individual level when he was told, “As expected of a Thai person.” A 24 year old man in Fukuoka City was asked, “Do roads in Korea reek of garlic?” A 28 year old man also in Fukuoka City who speaks Spanish said that he felt antipathy when people spoke to him in English.

On the other hand, over half of the respondents didn’t have such hurtful experiences.